In Mark 2, Jesus confounds the Scribes, and Pharisees and others, by answering their questions with questions. Their curiosity at His behavior and deeds is shallow and critical, and rather than answering their superficial inquiries, He responds by asking questions back to penetrate the surface of their prejudices, to unearth their sinister motives, to expose their self-righteousness. Not only does He know all, but He does not waste any opportunity to act according to His redemptive purposes. Jesus persists to awaken deeper thought and loftier living, to exchange our human perspective for His high and holy one.
“’Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk”?’… People came and said to him, ‘Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?’… And the Pharisees were saying to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’ And he said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?’”
There is nothing like a question to make us stop, consider, and dig a bit in order to reply. Jesus doesn’t spoon-feed His own, but knows that what we uncover and discover ourselves has greater effect and bears more meaning that what is forced upon us. After stirring their thinking, what were His concluding statements? The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins, New wine is for fresh wineskins, The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. In other words, ‘I am the Lord and you are not, and I’ve come to bring salvation and healing and rest and to make all things new.’ Why would we choose to nitpick and argue and condescend when such a Savior comes to offer so much to us, and others?
O God, peel away the superficiality of my thoughts and desires. Call me to deeper compassion, understanding, mercy, desire, prayer, that I, with amazement, say, “I never saw anything like this!”